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Team hired to tackle Bridgewater tower wind dangers

TP Bennett and Buro Happold are working on a number of schemes to tackle the problems with ‘dangerous’ winds around the base of Aedas’ 32-storey Bridgewater Place skyscraper in Leeds.

In March 2011 Ed Slaney, 36, was killed when a lorry ‘floated through the air like a hot-air balloon’ in gale-force winds and landed on him close to the landmark tower. A rescheduled inquest into his death has been set for 26 and 27 June 2013.

The engineers and architects are working with Leeds City Council and the building’s owner CPPI Bridgewater Place to look at possible mitigation measures to reduce the impact of high winds on pedestrians and road users. Wind-tunnel tests proved that current conditions experienced on site did not ‘pass commonly accepted pedestrian comfort or safety criteria’ (see council reports and appendices attached)

Tomorrow (15 February) Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to cough up the cash to pay for ‘continued wind testing, legal support, highway officer time and engineering design work of £245,000 to enable a detailed design to be provided for a baffle solution.’

As well as the proposed ‘4m-deep shaped baffles placed 6m above the highway across Water Lane’, the architect has drawn up plans for a new canopy over the building’s entrance.

For the first time the council has officially blamed the tower – the tallest in Yorkshire – for a ‘number of incidents’ at its base since its construction 2007.

The report reads: ‘The wind issues in the vicinity of the Bridgewater Place building on Water Lane have been demonstrated to have been caused by the building.

‘This is despite a wind assessment carried out by a reputable company, BRE, being submitted to discharge a planning condition, which suggested there wouldn’t be a problem with the building design.’

Aedas, Buro Happold and TP Bennett refused to comment

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